This is a spectacular time of the year for coaches and players — and sports reporters.
I rolled through the summer writing about soccer, rowing, running and more, and spent some time covering the Junior League Softball World Series at Everest Park in Kirkland and following the North Bothell Little League all-stars as they qualified for the Northwest Regional in San Bernardino, California. I visited with the 12U baseball team in person at practice at the Northshore Athletic Fields in Woodinville and then kept in touch via phone and email after watching livestreamed games on ESPN+.
While I was immersed in those sports, I was getting excited about what awaited on Aug. 21. The date was etched in my mind. It was the first day of football practices for the fall season.
Fellow sports reporter Benjamin Olson and myself mapped out our game plan to speak with head coaches and visit the 15 schools we cover for our seven Reporter newspapers. When we were unleashed from our desks that week, we arrived on the scene to snap photos and soak up the atmosphere of balls flying, pads smashing and ecstatic yells filling the air from everyone involved in the gridiron action.
It’s the perfect place to be if high school football is on your docket. We are always thrilled to be welcomed onto the fields and become a part of the local football world. The excitement level will rise even higher when the teams enter the stadiums to put all their hard-nosed practice into action under the lights on game nights.
A crucial thing we learn from getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the prep scene — not only football, but at recent girls soccer and volleyball practices/tryouts as well — is how much the players and coaches care for and respect each other. That can also be said for all the sports teams we visit over the course of the next nine months.
I’ve been inspired a multitude of times after speaking with coaches and athletes, and always hope to come away with some extra insight into sports and life that has been tossed my way by those I’ve interviewed.
So, well done, everyone, and I look forward to watching our many teams and players display their skills as we roll on over here at the Reporter.
Good luck to all this season.